Wes Montgomery, long a noted jazz guitarist, recently recorded a song that became quite popular on AM radio “Top 40” stations. The song—”Windy”—is on the album, A Day In The Life, and it is actually one of the least interesting of the ten songs on the album. It probably was selected to be a single only by virtue of the fact that it is just two minutes and twenty seconds long. It is one of the few songs on the album which is not excellently arranged.
The arranging on this album is done by Don Sebesky, whose work strongly… Read More
resembles that of Oliver Nelson—except that it is considerably better! On this album, Sebesky conducts a thirty piece orchestra, which includes Herbie Hancock on piano and Ron Carter on bass, both of whom play regularly with Miles Davis. (Hancock composed the hit “Watermelon Man.”)
Montgomery plays two Lennon and McCartney compositions, the title tune and “Eleanor Rigby.” His other selections run from old standards (“Willow Weep For Me”) to show tunes (“The Joker”) and from rhythm-and-blues (the Percy Sledge hit “When A Man Loves A Woman”) to Top 40 material (“California Nights” and “Windy”). The latter are the only ones which do not work. Though the tunes are not really bad, and the guitar playing is, as usual, excellent, both of these songs sound entirely too much like the teeny-bopper fare that they are.
On “A Day In The Life,” “When A Man Loves A Woman” and “The Joker,” Sebesky makes especially good use of the strings. And listen to Herbie Hancock’s piano on these tracks and on “Trust In Me” and “Eleanor Rigby.”
It is a shame that the majority of rock fans have not yet begun listening to modern but non-avant garde jazz artists such as Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith and Horace Silver. A Day in the Life is an excellent chance to find out what’s going on in this area.